BlueNC's blog

Monday News: Join the club

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SCHUMER HAS 'SOME DOUBTS' ABOUT SENATE INTELLIGENCE CHAIR BURR (NBC News) -- — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday morning that he has "some doubts about" Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican senator and chairman of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, which is looking into Russia's attempts to influence the last election. Burr "first denied that they should even investigate," Schumer charged during an exclusive interview on NBC's "Meet The Press." Schumer also responded to Trump's series of tweets on Saturday that alleged President Obama ordered a wiretap of communications at Trump Tower before the election. The suggestion was "beneath the dignity of the presidency," Schumer said. "It is something that really hurts people's view of government. It's 'civilization-warping,' as Ben Sasse, a conservative Republican, called it. And I don't know of any president, Democrat or Republican in the past, who has done this. It shows this president doesn't know how to conduct himself."
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/chuck-schumer-has-some-doubts-about-senate-inteligence...

Sunday News: Cause & effect version

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WATER OPTIONS OFFERED TO RESIDENTS NEAR LUMBERTON COAL ASH SITE (Fayetteville Observer) -- Duke Energy is offering residents who live near a coal ash site $5,000 if they agree not to sue the company. The offer was discussed during a meeting Wednesday when Duke Energy officials talked to the residents about ways the company can provide water to them.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170301/water-options-offered-to-residents-near-lumberton-coal-ash-...

DUKE ENERGY CEO’S PAY JUMPED 27 PERCENT TO $13.8 MILLION LAST YEAR (Charlotte Observer) -- Duke Energy chairman and CEO Lynn Good’s pay jumped 27 percent last year to about $13.8 million, the company said Friday in its shareholder proxy statement.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article136276868.html

Saturday News: Gerrymandering goes to trial

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LAWSUITS TESTING POLITICAL GERRYMANDERING CLAIMS MOVE TO SUMMER TRIAL (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Two lawsuits questioning the breadth to which N.C. lawmakers can design congressional districts for partisan gain are on path toward a summer trial. A panel of three federal judges issued a ruling on Friday rejecting a request by state lawmakers to dismiss the cases filed last year by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, two organizations that have been critical of partisan gerrymandering by both parties. The federal judges — James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama) and U.S. District Judges William Osteen Jr. (appointed by Republican President George W. Bush) and W. Earl Britt (appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter) — noted the novelty of the arguments put forward in the cases challenging the maps drawn and approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016. But they also noted “obstacles the plaintiffs must overcome to prevail.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article136347448.html

Friday News: Of course they did

SENATE COMMITTEE CONFIRMS HALL AS MILITARY AFFAIRS SECRETARY (WRAL-TV) -- After weeks of arguing over the legality of the confirmation process, a Senate committee voted unanimously Thursday to approve former state Rep. Larry Hall as secretary of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Early on in the hearing, he said his office would be focused on making sure veterans knew about the services available to them that they may not be using. "What we've failed to do is engage (veterans) and ensure they get they full advantage of every right and benefit they have earned," he said. Other pressing issues for the office, he said, would be creating more jobs for veterans, ending homelessness among veterans and combating an epidemic of suicides among veterans.
http://www.wral.com/senate-committee-confirms-hall-as-military-affairs-secretary/16561543/

Thursday News: Budgeting the right way

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IN FIRST BUDGET, COOPER PUSHES FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION (N.C. Health News) -- In rolling out his first budget, Gov. Roy Cooper said he will be able to increase North Carolina’s spending for the coming fiscal year by $1.1 billion. Cooper’s $23.48 billion dollar spending plan for 2017-18 emphasizes increasing teacher pay, increasing salaries for state employees across the board and builds on former Gov. McCrory’s infrastructure improvements to upgrade more state properties. “I have talked to hospital CEOs. I think they are willing and ready and able to step up in exchange for this expansion,” he said. “It’s gonna be a net gain for them. They’re getting hundreds of millions of dollars in this expansion.”
http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2017/03/02/first-budget-cooper-pushes-medicaid-expansion/

Wednesday News: The roots of the problem

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HB2 REPEAL WILL COME ONLY WHEN BERGER AND MOORE CLEAR THE WAY (Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial) -- Thanks to extreme gerrymandering, the General Assembly has become an ideological echo chamber where voices of reason are drowned out by shouts of extremism. It is a place where absurd comments from House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate boss Phil Berger, complaining it’s always the opponents and victims of HB2 who are preventing its repeal, are inexplicably viewed as reasonable. The bill includes a ridiculously low threshold – 10 percent of voters in the previous municipal election -- to get a repeal on the ballot. That would be a mere 4,200 signatures in Raleigh – a city with a 438,000 population. Such a counter-productive process only breeds more divisiveness and trouble. There will be a referendum in every city.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-hb2-repeal-will-come-only-when-berger-and-moore-clear-the-way/16557836/

Tuesday News

CONSTIUTIONAL RIGHT TO FACEBOOK, TWITTER? SUPREME COURT WEIGHS IN (New York Times) -- A Supreme Court argument on Monday about whether North Carolina may bar registered sex offenders from using Facebook, Twitter and similar services turned into a discussion of how thoroughly social media have transformed American civic discourse. The justices’ remarks, which indicated easy familiarity with the major social media services, suggested that they would strike down the North Carolina law under the First Amendment.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/us/politics/supreme-court-north-carolina-sex-offenders-social-med...

Monday News: HB2 Repeal saga continues

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COOPER: 'I'M READY TO COMPROMISE TO ERASE' HB2 (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Roy Cooper called on Republican legislators Sunday to drop a provision in a proposed HB2 repeal compromise that would allow for a referendum vote on local nondiscrimination ordinances. Cooper issued a news release and posted a video Sunday afternoon calling on House Speaker Tim Moore to “return to the negotiating table.” Cooper, a Democrat, took issue with the provision that would allow opponents of nondiscrimination ordinances to collect signatures to put the ordinances up for a vote in a referendum election. "It subjects the rights of the minority to a vote of the majority. It would be like putting the Civil Rights Act to a popular vote in cities in the South during the 1960s. Except today, it would come with the perils of modern campaigns," Cooper said in the Medium post.
http://www.wral.com/cooper-i-m-ready-to-compromise-to-erase-hb2/16553249/

Sunday News: Comrade Burr gets chastised

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LAWMAKER WARNS BURR OVER REPORTS HE TRIED TO HELP QUASH RUSSIA STORIES Bloomberg News) -- The Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat warned the panel's chairman over reports that the Republican worked with the White House to try to squash negative stories about Russian interference in last year's U.S. elections, calling it a threat to the integrity of the top congressional probe into the issue. "If Chairman Burr is discussing classified matters with the press and pre-judging the committee's investigation, all at the behest of the White House, it's hard to imagine how he could convince me or the public of his impartiality," Wyden said in a email statement. "If that is the case, I intend to co-sponsor legislation creating an independent commission to investigate Russia's interference in our democracy."
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article134969844.html

Saturday News: HB2 "Light" bill loses a D

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AS HB2 REPEAL CO-SPONSOR ABANDONS BILL, BACKERS, OPPONENTS TRADE JABS (WRAL-TV) -- Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, said that he had hoped to help reshape the effort to repeal HB2. However, he said, GOP House leaders have indicated they're not flexible on certain points. What initially appeared to be a compromise, in fact, isn’t. The referendum in question would allow a voter-initiated process to override local governments that decide to extend discrimination protections to LGBT people, a point that many advocates find unacceptable. While he wouldn't say which colleagues gave him those assurances, Moore said that he has since been told of comments from House Speaker Tim Moore that parts of the bill, including the referendum provision, were non-negotiable.
http://www.wral.com/as-hb2-repeal-co-sponsor-abandons-bill-backers-opponents-trade-jabs/16549780/

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